“stirred and shaken…”
Imagine you have a glass of murky water: The water will remain cloudy as long as it is being stirred and moved around constantly. But given time for it to sit undisturbed, the sediments will eventually settle and you will get a clearer glass. This is the picture I had in mind a couple months ago—the busyness, the nonstop activities around me had muddied up my perceptions on a lot of issues. I finally took some time off to be completely still, to remain open and to wait patiently for all these “things” to settle and receive the clarity I needed.
The kind of clarity I am talking about is to know where God is leading, what He is saying and most of all cleaning the temple of my heart. These are things we all need to attend regularly like a spiritual check up in order for us to function healthily. But I have to say, being still is a luxury for most of us, for we all have many demands and obligations in our life. It is quite challenging for us to find that kind of time for ourselves.
Fortunately I had some time off last December which was normally a busy time. As Christmas is a time of festivities, shopping and baking etc. But I knew I needed to be still and sorted out some things which had been burdening me. Being still, as I soon discovered, is not just a physical thing but the posture of the heart. It is to put my focus on God, and not on the to-do lists and the voices around me. When I did that, God in His faithfulness did not disappoint me and His voice came through loud and certain. It was a much needed exercise, for when I remained in that posture His revelation was unambiguous. It was indeed a humbling experience to recognize and be willing to accept and make necessary changes.
“Be still and know I am God”. That’s His command to us, and for a Martha-like creature as me, that stillness is a discipline that is hard to come by. Discipline as defined is “an activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill” in other words it is something that needs to be repeated and practiced all the time.
Surprisingly, my best teacher in this discipline is my yellow lab. Every morning he sits quietly in front of the window overlooking the green belt and listens intently to the noises around him. It never ceased to amaze me the kind of inaudible sounds he is able to detect as he moves his furry head to the sources. While sitting quietly he is very much aware of what his master—me– is up to. Whenever I am ready to leave for work he responds immediately: he will go to his room to wait for his treats and get locked up for the day. This dog observes and knows his master well.
From my loyal companion, I have learned what means to be still:
It is to wait, listen, watch and respond.